The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), apparently freaking out over the prospect of an Egyptian scenario in the capital, has chosen to employ the weapons of its pacification war in Darfur against the student ‘rebels’ in Khartoum. On 13 February a team of NISS officers arrested a young student, active in the Girifna movement, from a main street in Khartoum. S remained in the custody of the security service for a few hours during which she was gang-raped by the men of the NISS in their Khartoum North headquarters, and subsequently released to the blitz of the streets.
Rape as a tool of terror, as is well known, is not particularly novel in the catalogue of the NISS. In Darfur the security agencies of the NCP, acting directly or through their proxies, acquired a notorious reputation for the employment of rape as an instrument of suppression. Apparently, the NISS, possibly fascinated by the efficiency of its weapon, has decided to try it out against its student contenders in Khartoum.
To understand why the NISS has decided to shift gears in such a fashion it is important to note two aspects of the 30 January protests and the preceding Girifna agitation in the run up to the April 2010 elections that probably vex the security authorities most. The first, I suppose, is the autopoetic and acephalous nature of the youth mobilisation. The NISS, trained to sniff plots and clandestine movements along a central command model, was faced with a disturbingly transparent and visible form of agitation that does not feature in its textbook. In response, it arrested the whole movement. More than 200 individuals passed through the custody of the NISS, while some still remain, in relation to the 30 January events. The second is the preponderance of young women in the ranks of the agitators and protestors. The expansion in higher education, qualitative concerns aside, invited to public life in Sudan an ever increasing number of young women who are committed to make it an advantage that works in their favour. Rather than satisfy themselves with the secondary women wings of political parties these young activists are well positioned in the loose organisational forms of the recent campaigns unrestricted by the standard male dominated structures.
Against such blatant liberation the NISS chose to pick from its toolbox the axe of male domination in an attempt to shame the young women back into the hijab of private life and terrorise their families into the defeat of female subjugation; as is the case whenever one attempts to bend reality with mere fantasy, to no avail.